Olga Sánchez Cordero



Olga María del Carmen Sánchez Cordero de Gracía Villegas is an Associate Justice on the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. Appointed in 1995, is one she is one of only two sitting female justices and is the ninth woman to serve on the Supreme Court. During her two decades on the Court, Mtra. Sánchez Cordero earned a reputation as a progressive justice and an outspoken defender of human rights in general and the rights of women, children, and immigrants in particular. These qualities led Forbes magazine to name her the most influential woman in Mexico in 2013, among other national and international recognitions.

Prior to serving on the Court, Mtra. Sánchez Cordero earned a reputation as a leading academic willing to challenge existing legal doctrine and the priorities it represented. Her writings as a professor proposed advances in Mexican gender protections, labor law, and constitutional social and economic rights among other areas. In 1984, she became the first woman ever designated as a Notary Public in the Federal District, a powerful legal role under the Mexican system. Her legal opinions and public remarks have underlined the importance of rule of law in pursuit of justice in all its forms: in combatting stereotypes, substantiating human rights, responding to the realities of gender inequality, protecting the legal rights of children and of foreigners. Mtra. Sánchez Cordero participated in Mexico’s 1968 student protests, (for which she has since advocated for a truth tribunal to investigate associated extrajudicial killings) and received her law upon completion of her thesis, “A Revolution in Legal Interpretation.” She is viewed as a vocal proponent of judicial independence, institutional accountability, and human rights in all forms. Among many examples, Mtra. Cordero wrote a minority opinion criticizing the lack of official response to the hundreds of unsolved femicides in Ciudad Juarez in the so-called the Campo Aldonero case, which later led to lawsuits against Mexico in the Interamerican Court of Human Rights.

Crucially, Mtra. Sánchez Cordero has emphasized the need for creative thinking for the legal community to confront challenging problems including in combatting stereotypes, substanitting human rights, and responding to the unspoken frequency of domestic violence. In the words of the HLS community member who nominated her, Mtra. Mtra. Sánchez Cordero “inspires Mexican law students and aspirants to believe that these are problems that can be solved using law as a tool.”

Mtra. Sánchez Cordero studied law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).